City Council was still treading financial water at press time on Wednesday, in its second of three days of FY 2016 budget deliberations. Statutory deadline for a new budget is today, Thursday, Sept. 10, at midnight – so figure on postponements for the regular zoning agenda.
City attorneys responded to Council Member Don Zimmerman's campaign finance lawsuit, opposing his request for a preliminary injunction against the blackout period and cash limits, on grounds that Austin's restrictions are designed to prevent quid pro quo corruption or the appearance of same.
The city of Austin has paid $480,000 in an attorney fee settlement after losing a battle to ensure religious, anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) display accurate signage about their largely non-medical services. Council's 2010 truth-in-advertising measure was met with a lawsuit from local CPCs, and eventually struck down by Judge Lee Yeakel last July. So much for transparency.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense Texas Chapter is holding a "#WhateverItTakes" Day of Action Event Thursday, Sept. 10 at City Hall, 6-7pm, as part of a national campaign to press for gun control legislation. Among the speakers will be District 48 state Rep. Donna Howard. Meanwhile, local gun merchant Michael Cargill continues his campaign to allow firearms at City Hall.
Travis County Commissioners approved revisions to the mass gathering permit application process Tuesday. The decision, passed 3-1 with one abstention, will drastically reconfigure the way festivals outside of city limits do business – setting new curfew hours at 11pm on weekdays and 1am on weekends – but it may not be set in stone. During proceedings, Commissioner Gerald Daugherty acknowledged that certain stakeholders (mostly festival organizers) will likely pursue legal action to contest whether or not the Court has the ability to impose such regulations.
Two candidates have applied to be appointed interim AISD trustee for District 7: Yasmin Wagner, who lost to the late incumbent Robert Schneider in the 2014 election, and accountant Jonathan Sump. The district has set three meet-the-candidates forums: 7pm Tuesday, Sept. 15, at Bowie High School; noon Thursday, Sept. 17, at Covington Middle School; and 11am Saturday, Sept. 19, at Baranoff Elementary.
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center and Frontier Group issued a report this week saying that fracking for oil and gas on University of Texas lands is wasting water, polluting sensitive land, and releasing massive amounts of greenhouse gases. The groups called on the University Lands office to negotiate stronger environmental controls in its hydrocarbon leases.